Liveblogging Super Bowl LVI

3:15PM: I am sitting down in a comfortable spot looking at a host of televisions that are showing the pre-game festivities for the upcoming Super Bowl, and I will comment as is my habit [1]

[1] See, for example:

3:17PM: And why is it that from time to time I liveblog this particular event? As someone who likes to review various products and cultural artifacts, the Super Bowl represents one of the more dramatic events that occurs in the sporting year. Unlike the vast majority of regular athletic events, there is no home and home series, no multi-game series where the result is often in doubt until the very end of several days of events, but rather there is a single dramatic episode that lasts for a few hours. And, to top it off, here I am not forced to actually listen to the advertisements or the course of the game, but rather I can see it. That also means I do not get to hear the national anthem, which came with a harp accompaniment this year for some reason.

3:22PM: I guess it wasn’t the national anthem I saw but rather the first set of several of the usual pre-game songs. Now they’re showing trailers and other commercials and the tense and anxious players on both benches promises well for a good game.

3:28PM: We have the coin toss, and it’s a shame there is no captioning, so someone won the toss and probably elected to defer the kickoff to the second half. Judging from how the players are acting it looks like the Bengals will receive the kickoff as the Cincy QB and the LA defense were shown getting ready.

3:31PM: It is just me or are there way too many trailers for shows and movies that people aren’t likely to be enthusiastic about watching?

3;33PM: What is the Rock doing here again?

3:35PM: It looks like Cincy is kicking it off. The Rams will start off on their own 25. They start with a run.

3:37PM: That was a solid hit. So far it’s second down and long after a quick first down pickup. And the Bengals get the sack to make third and very long. Will Stafford throw the checkdown on third and seventeen? Welp, they didn’t get the first down so the Rams will punt it away.

3:39PM: After that punt return the Bengals will have good field position just on their side of midfield. Now it’s time for some more commercials.

3:42PM: Now the Bengals start with their opening drive on their 42 yard line or so. After two quick plays they have a third and one. They run but don’t get it and will likely have to punt it away after wasting such excellent field position. They went for it, but didn’t get it, and the Rams will have the ball around midfield to begin their second drive with excellent field position. And now it’s time for some more commericals.

3:47PM: The Rams start off with a run that goes nowhere. Stafford takes off for a run on second down and gets most of it. We see an intense looking defensive coordinate for Cincy before the third and four play. The pass is short but the receiver manages to evade the tackle and get quite a few yards after the catch before finally getting tackled. It’s first and ten at about the 24. The run then gets about four yards and it will be second down. Another short pass leads to a short gain and it will be third and short. Out of shotgun Stafford takes it in an empty backfield and tosses a TD pass. With the extra point it is 7-0 LA. And it’s time for more commercials.

3:55PM: We’re seeing obligatory shots of the wags, in this case Stafford’s wife. A first down play goes nowhere and it will be second and ten from the 25. Burrow in shotgun passes it and gets most of it. It will be third down and four after the short pass. The receiver comes up a bit lame after some good coverage and it will be fourth down and time to punt it away, this time for real, because I can’t imagine Cincy going for it in these circumstances unless their owner has a large gambling debt. After the punt it is time for some more commercials.

4:01PM: On first down Stafford passe a short pass that is complete and it will be second and five. They change formations and the play is called dead with our first penalty of the game, it looks like an illegal shift or something and it will be second and ten. They run it on second down and it doesn’t go far, and it will be third down and seven or so. Stafford takes it once again and the pass is short of the first down marker and immediately tackled so the Rams fail to get first down again. The Rams punt it away and the Bengals return it just past the 30 yard line. And now we have more commercials, with the first quarter almost done.

4:07PM: We have just been informed that this game is the first matchup between the two youngest coaches in the NFL for that year, and Cincy gets a first down on a nice run. They have first down at the 43 or so after that and Burrows passes it down the sideline. That is a nice catch and the Bengals are in the red zone. Another pass is deflected and it is second down at the eleven. A short pass is incomplete and the receiver gets hit hard around the knees. It is third and ten. The throw into double coverage is incomplete and it is fourth down. The Bengals attempt a field goal and it is successful. The game is 7-3 with 28 seconds in the quarter. Now we have some talking heads and then the kickoff and the Rams let it go for another touchback. They will start from their 25. The Rams run and it goes nowhere and this should be the end of the quarter. Now it’s time for more commercials, of course.

4:17PM: The Rams start their drive and Stafford gets laid out on second down after the first down play doesn’t go far.. That’s gotta hurt. The third down catch and run near the sidelines is successful and the Rams get a first down. It is now first and ten at the Cincy 41 or so, and Stafford has some time and throws it for another first down along the opposite sideline. It is first and ten at the Cincy 16 and the run picks up about five or six. At second and four from the ten the Rams call their first timeout as the play clock drops to about five seconds and someone didn’t like what they saw. After the timeout there is another pass and this time it’s a TD in the corner of the endzone. The attempt at a two-point conversion fails after the muffed extra point and it is 13-3 now. Of course, that means it’s another commercial break.

4:25PM: After a nice pass and a kickoff the Bengals have a first down at around 35 yard line or so. A short play is followed by a longer one and the Bengals are driving down the field, mixing up the run and the pass. Another run takes off another few yards and the Bengals are in field goal range. It is third down and about five or so from the 33 or so. Cincy passes it and gets the first down to about the 19 or so. A gain of four makes it second and six in the red zone. The clock continues to tick, below eight minutes in the half. A short pass is caught but it’s short of the first down marker and it is now third down and short, as the clock continues to run below 7 minutes in the half. The pass in the backfield leads to a first down and it is now first and goal as the receiver went out of bounds at around the eight or so. First down is a run and it doesn’t go very far, and the clock will drop below six minutes now for second and goal. The first Bengals TD pass follows from Mixon and the extra point is good to bring the game to 13-10. More commercials, of course, follow.

4:36PM: The kickoff goes for another touchback and the Rams will start at the 25 again. The run on first down gets about 5 or 6. They get the first down and have it around the 44. Another run gets bout one and the second down pass is incomplete. It will be third and nine. A Rams player goes down from what looks like a pretty serious injury and they cut to a commercial break after the injury timeout.

4:42PM: Time for a restroom break.

5:05PM: Is it halftime already? It’s still 13-10. The bartender put some money on the Rams and the over, and so far the Bengals are covering and the under is prevailing, but the margins are slim. With 23 points scored in the first half, there need to be 26 points in the second half for the over to prevail. Four touchdowns in a half hardly seems unreasonable with offenses as potent as these two, so we’ll see how it works.

5:12PM: It’s the halftime show. Dr. Dre starts out with “California Love,” along with Snoop Dogg. 50 Cent follows with “In Da Club.” Mary J. Blige then follows up with “Family Affair.” Kendrick Lamar then follows with “Alright.” Eminem then follows with “Forgot About Dre” and “Lose Yourself” in a medley. Dr. Dre makes a nice piano performance and then Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre come back for “Still Dre.”

5:33PM: The second half begins. The kickoff is a touchback. The Bengals begin with a long pass and the receiver embarrasses the coverage. It’s a quick touchdown and the Bengals are now up, with the extra point it’s now 17-13 after twelve seconds. There’s an uncalled facemask penalty. The kickoff is returned and the returner get tacked. The Rams begin their drive and Stafford throws a pick. The short pass doesn’t get any yards and it will be second down for the Bengals. Burrows runs out of bounds and there is some fierce fighting. The third down pass is just short of the first down marker and the Bengals look like they are going for another fourth down conversion on 4th and one. With an empty backfield Burrows gets the conversion and it’s a fresh set of downs. On first down Mixon gets about one yard or so. A short pass towards the sideline gets a few yards and it will be third down and three or so. Burrows gets sacked and it will be fourth down. The Bengals will now try the field goal. The 38 yard try is right down the middle of the uprights and it is 20-13 with almost five minutes gone in the third quarter. And now we have a commercial break.

5:46PM: The ensuing kickoff is another touchback and we have a heartwarming episode involving a referee. The Rams start their drive. The run on first down doesn’t go far. Stafford passes and it’s incomplete, so it’s third and eight. The Rams will pass from an empty backfield and the pass is complete for a first down. At the 41 yard line the Rams hand it off and it goes for very little again. Akers just has not been able to get a lot of room to move so far. On second and nine Stafford throws it low but the receiver gets it beyond the first down marker. The clock is running down to about eight minutes, and Stafford throws it for a first down with some truly awful tackling. The Rams pass it again and it is second down, with the receiver being pushed out of bounds. With the clock down around seven minutes left in in the quarter the Rams have a second and three on around the 21 or so and the running back doesn’t even make it back to the line of scrimmage. On third and 5 Stafford scrambles and the pass is too tall for the receiver after the reverse. The Bengals hold after the trick play fails. The Rams try for a field goal and it’s right down the middle of the uprights. It is now 20-16, Bengals up. And now there is a commercial break.

5:58PM. The Bengals get the ball back and after losing three yards in the first two plays the third down pass is incomplete but close at least. The Bengals have to punt it off. The rams get it and return it to near midfield and will have great field position to start their next drive. Of course, we have another round of commercials, which prompts a conversation about penalties. The Rams pass on first down and lose a yard. A Bengals player looks injured on the sideline and is having his knee looked at, Awuzie, it looks like. With about four minutes left in the quarter, the Rams will snap the ball in shotgun and Stafford eludes the rush just enough to pass a short pass for five or six yards or so. It is third down and seven from midfield and Stafford gets sacked this time. It will be fourth down and the Rams will likely have to punt it now. The Rams punt it away from the 44 and the Bengals are unable to return the directional punt. The Bengals will now start with poor field position and Stafford is on the trainer’s table. That is bad news for the Rams if Stafford has mobility issues. But of course, we have another commercial break.

6:07PM: We see some more pictures of Stafford hobbling about, that looks painful, but he looks to be doing a bit better on the sidelines. The Bengals start with the ball and Burrows goes down. Burrows goes back and goes down again, close to the end zone. The ball is loose but it was probably down by contact. It is now third and a long way for the Bengals near their own end zone. The Bengals get back to the twenty yard line or so. It will still be fourth down when the Bengals punt it away. The Rams get to around midfield again and the Rams returner gets lit up. We have some talking heads at this point. Stafford takes it under center on first down at the 48 or so, and the running back gets a few yards. There is less than half a minute left in the quarter now as the Rams get ready for second down with Stafford under center. After motion the Rams decide to let the quarter expire. We are now going to the fourth quarter.

6:15PM: After another commercial break we see the Rams with the ball. The Rams run the ball and fail to make it bck to the line of scrimmage. Now it is third down and Stafford places the ball nicely but the receiver is unable to come down with it. Jefferson was close but no cigar. The rams will punt the ball and the Bengals will once again begin a drive with bad field position. The Bengals get very little on first down but their second down pass is a first down. The run gets a yard and then Burrows throws incomplete into coverage. It is now third and nine from shotgun and Burrows gets sacked. He looks like he’s hurting after that hit and he walks off to the sidelines under his own power. There is unnecessary roughness called on the offensive lineman to push them back half the distance to the goal. The Bengals will punt the ball with terrible field position and the punt is a great one. The Rams returner is tackled on the 35 yard line. We see pictures of Burrows grimacing in pain and we cut to another commercial break.

6:24PM: We have about 11 and a half minutes remaining in the game and the Rams will start with the ball on the 35 yard line or so. Stafford pulls back and passes it short and the receiver gets a few yards before getting pushed out of bounds. Burrows looks a lot better on the sideline at least, and we see another play get busted and the Rams will have third down after another terrible run. On third and four Stafford throws just a bit too tall for his receiver and it will be fourth down. The Rams kick another great punt to give the Bengals terrible field position again. And we have more commercials.

6:29PM: The Bengals start with the ball again and Mixon gets a pretty good run. He gets the ball again after the first down and gets another eight yards or so. Mixon tries yet another run but doesn’t get much despite the effort. It will now be third down and short with about eight minutes left in the game. The short pass to the sideline is a first down and he stays inside. A short pass is called with forward progress and with less than seven minutes in the game a short run will lead to third down and a bit less than ten. After this play another Rams player is down with the injury timeout. With third and nine in the empty backfield Burrows passes and it is incomplete. So with 6:20 left in the game and fourth and long the Bengals will punt the ball away again. The Rams returner calls a fair catch on the 21 yard line before we return to more commercials.

6:37PM: The Rams start with the ball and the first play doesn’t go well enough for the first down. The second down pass is incomplete and the third down run doesn’t convert either. On second look, it does, and we then have an incomplete pass to go to second and ten. The Rams pass and get about 8 yards and it will be third down with close to four minutes left in the game. On third down Stafford passes and it’s a short pass to give them a first down near about midfield. The Rams are moving a bit fast on offense and Stafford passes it short and the pass gets about two yards before forward progress is stopped with a lot of whistles. It is second down and moderate distance and the pass is caught for a first down. It is now about two and a half minutes left to go and the Rams pass to the twenty yard line of Cincy. The Rams prepare to do a play just before the two minute warning, and they run it for a rare first down that shows some more poor tackling. We will now stop for the two minute warning with a first down for the Rams close to the end zone. With the Rams down by four, they really can’t settle for the field goal here because they may never get the ball back if they do. And, of course, we have more commercials.

6:46PM: The Rams have the ball with first and goal and throw it out of the back of the end zone with 1:51 left in the game. It is now second down. Stafford in shotgun throws it short but it’s incomplete. Now it’s third and goal. Stafford goes back and throws the ball. It is deflected by the defense but there is a flag, defensive holding, and the Rams will get a fresh set of downs for the Rams. Stafford throws a TD pass and the receiver gets hammered but holds on in the end zone, and there is a touchdown and a flag. The refs are discussing the flag, it is offsetting penalties and the TD doesn’t count, they will replay first down. There is now 1:38 remaining in the game with the Rams having a first and goal on the four or so. Stafford takes it in shot gun and the play is blown dead with several flags thrown. It is first and goal with another two seconds off of the clock and another couple of yards closer. A run on first down is stopped before the end zone and Cincy takes its first timeout of the half. It is now second and goal with 1:29 left in the game and the ball on the one yard line. The Rams are in a bunched formation and Stafford throws for the TD to go up 22-20. They kick the extra point to go up 23-20 with 1:25 left in the game and will now kick it off to the Bengals. The kickoff is predictably a touchback and the Bengals will start from their twenty-five needing a field goal to tie or a TD to win with 85 seconds to pull it off. Burrows throws for a first down on first down and the receiver was able to get out of bounds after beating the coverage. With the ball on their 42 yard line Burrows throws it again for about nine yards down the middle. He calls for the ball pretty ast and with a bit less than a minute left he takes the ball and throws it deep and incomplete. It is now 3rd and one. They try a running play and fail to convert and it will be fourth down and short. The Bengals call a timeout, leaving only one remaining with 43 seconds in the game, and Burrows will take it out of shotgun. As he is about to be sacked he throws it incomplete and the Rams will take it over on downs with 39 seconds left. They will kneel it to close it out and the Rams will win this nail-biter of a Super Bowl 23-20, thus failing to cover the spread or getting the over.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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